- Willard Carroll Smith, Jr.
September 25, 1968 (age 52)
- Actor, Film Producer, Record producer, Television Producer, Rapper, Theatrical producer, Film Score
- Sheree Zampino (m. 1992; div. 1995) Jada Koren Pinkett (m. 1997)
- Caroline Bright, Willard Christopher Smith, Sr.
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, producer, and rapper. He has enjoyed success in television, film and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor in Hollywood. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.
In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show ran for nearly six years (1990–1996) on NBC and has been syndicated consistently on various networks since then. In the mid-1990s, Smith moved from television to film, and ultimately starred in numerous blockbuster films. He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, and ten consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally and the only one to have eight consecutive films in which he starred open at #1 spot in the domestic box office tally.
Will Smith is ranked as the most bankable star worldwide by Forbes despite the box-office and critical disappointment of his 2013 film, After Earth, co-starring his son Jaden Smith. 16 of the 20 fiction films he has acted in have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of over $100 million each, and five took in over $500 million each in global box office receipts. As of 2014, his films have grossed $6.6 billion in global box office. He has received Best Actor Oscar nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
Family and early life
Smith was born and raised in West Philadelphia, and he has also lived in Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia. His mother, Caroline (née Bright), was a school administrator who worked for the Philadelphia school board, and his father, Willard Christopher Smith, Sr., was a refrigeration engineer. He was raised Baptist. His parents separated when he was thirteen, but did not actually divorce until around 2000.
Recording and acting career
Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, with his childhood friend Jeffrey "DJ Jazzy Jeff" Townes as turntablist and producer, as well as Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes) as the human beat box. The trio was known for performing humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Summertime". They gained critical acclaim and won the first Grammy awarded in the Rap category (1988).
Smith spent money freely around 1988 and 1989 and underpaid his income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service eventually assessed a $2.8 million tax debt against Smith, took many of his possessions, and garnished his income. Smith was nearly bankrupt in 1990, when the NBC television network signed him to a contract and built a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, around him. The show was successful and began his acting career. Smith set for himself the goal of becoming "the biggest movie star in the world," studying box office successes' common characteristics.
Smith's first major roles were in the drama Six Degrees of Separation (1993) and the action film Bad Boys (1995) in which he starred opposite of Martin Lawrence.
In 1996, Smith starred as part of an ensemble cast in Roland Emmerich's Independence Day. The film was a massive blockbuster, becoming the second highest grossing film in history at the time and establishing Smith as a prime box office draw. He later struck gold again in the summer of 1997 alongside Tommy Lee Jones in the summer hit Men in Black playing Agent J. In 1998,
On December 10, 2007, Smith was honored at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Smith left an imprint of his hands and feet outside the world renowned theater in front of many fans. Later that month, Smith starred in the film I Am Legend, released December 14, 2007. Despite marginally positive reviews, its opening was the largest ever for a film released in the United States during December. A reviewer said that the film's commercial success "cemented [Smith's] standing as the number one box office draw in Hollywood."
Smith married Sheree Zampino in 1992. They had one son, Trey Smith, born on November 11, 1992, and divorced in 1995. Trey appeared in his father's music video for the 1998 single "Just the Two of Us". He also acted in two episodes of the sitcom All of Us, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and on the David Blaine: Real or Magic TV special.
Smith married actress Jada Koren Pinkett in 1997. Together they have two children: Jaden Christopher Syre Smith (born 1998), his co-star in The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth, and Willow Camille Reign Smith (born 2000), who appeared as his daughter in I Am Legend. Smith and his brother Harry own Treyball Development Inc., a Beverly Hills-based company named after Trey. Smith and his family reside in Los Angeles, California.
Smith was consistently listed in Fortune Magazine's "Richest 40" list of the forty wealthiest Americans under the age of 40.